Sony ushers in the new Vaio P, now with trackpad and accelerometer

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Clocks must work at a different pace in Japan; either that or Sony just couldn't stand to wait another day to introduce its latest entry in the teeny-tiny computer arena because the new Vaio P series is here, and it's as colorful as we were led to believe. Just barely a few hours after Jenn posted about a Tuesday release, Sony got a jump on the festivities, and so far the new P is looking very sweet indeed.

The first thing you'll notice is the switch to brighter colors, six in all, which follows in the footsteps of the much larger Vaio E series. Besides the paint job, the specs inside remain very similar to the current P, with processor choices such as an Atom Z520 (1.6GHz) or Z550 (2.0GHz), but now there is also the all-new Z560 (2.13GHz) to help speed things along. RAM remains at 2GB, the SSD storage ranges from 64GB to 256GB, and the screen is still a non-touch, 8-inch 1600×768 LED-backlit affair. WiMAX will be optional, although it remains to be seen if this will make it to the US model since the same feature never made it over last time.

Follow past the break for some more up-close peeks at the newest member of the Sony Vaio family, and if the urge hits to enjoy some Skittles, it's completely understandable.

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Since the new P series needs a little something extra to help separate it from its aging sibling, Sony has added an optical trackpad at the bottom right corner of the screen bezel, along with two mouse buttons on the opposite side, for easier two-handed use on the move. The original trackpoint and mouse buttons remain in their usual positions for more traditional desk work. But extra pointing options alone don't tell the whole story, because now there is also an accelerometer that can be used to switch seamlessly from landscape to portrait view, instead of having to manually change the orientation.

In addition, the accelerometer can be used as a tilt control for navigating back and forth through web pages, as well as flipping through pictures. An ambient light sensor and a quick-change resolution button are now present too, so nighttime book reading can be much easier on the eyes by dimming the screen and enlarging text. Battery life may have improved slightly to 3 hours for the standard battery and 5 hours for the extended battery, with real-life usage probably falling a bit short of those numbers.

US pricing is unknown right now, but with Sony being chided over the original Vaio P pricing, I wouldn't look for them to make the same mistake again, at least here in the States. We should find out soon enough, as the new units are set to ship next month in Japan, with a US release hopefully not too long after.

[UPDATE] The official starting price will be $800 in the US, according to Engadget, and will include the base Z530 processor. This puts the new Vaio P at $100 less than the current model, and $200 less than the original shipping base model, which had a slow hard drive instead of the now-standard SSD.  Smart move on Sony's part, the new pricing should help these things fly off the shelves a little easier than before. The new model will be available for pre-sale sometime today, but currently the link still goes to last year's version.

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:: Visit the Vaio P forum to connect with other owners and potential buyers, share tips, and troubleshoot. ::

[Sony Japan | Sony "Coming Out" Teaser Page]
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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

Avatar of Chris King

27 thoughts on “Sony ushers in the new Vaio P, now with trackpad and accelerometer

  • Avatar of Steven L
    May 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm
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    Looking at those specs – lcd has to be a custom job, atom z-series on a consumer device, and the 64gb ssd base? – it’s probably going to be just as expensive as ever.

    Reply
  • Avatar of David
    May 9, 2010 at 9:41 pm
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    Really disappointed with this Vaio P announcement. I was hoping Sony would have resurrected a refreshed UX line instead. I own the original Vaio P and there’s nothing about this new one that makes me go “wow” or “I want to upgrade to that.” Atom Zed processors, though battery friendly, are slow as poo.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chris King
    May 9, 2010 at 9:47 pm
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    If that’s right, it converts to about $860 USD. Aren’t the Japanese prices usually higher, even after conversion? If so, maybe this thing will come in at a $799 base price, which would be decent.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chris King
    May 9, 2010 at 9:53 pm
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    On the bright side, at least these won’t ever have to deal with Vista. Plus, with the new Flash 10.1, it at least makes the Z-series Atoms tolerable, if not totally useable.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee
    May 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm
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    I’m disappointed too. I love my original P and think the new ones look nice, but there just isn’t enough wow for me to upgrade either.

    I’m not sure how useful the new controls will be, as the P’s size isn’t exactly handheld-friendly. I would’ve liked to see a significant upgrade in specs too. Sticking with the Menlow platform doesn’t really seem like a second-gen move to me.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Ann
    May 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm
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    I’m eyeing it just because I like my current Vaio P so much that I’m getting hoarding instincts. Must… get another in case one breaks… reduce the sadness… However, waiting to see which models unlock the WiMAX will be telling.

    I can’t see it as an ereader though, even with the orientation change. Very narrow, very tall. But I have a nook for that.

    Reply
  • Avatar of The_Niles
    May 9, 2010 at 10:50 pm
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    There was no option to move on to. Not in this form factor on a Windows device. People who own a P now might find little reason to upgrade (although moving from a 1.3GHz to a 2.3GHz plus from an HDD to SSD is going to cause a significant improvement in performance) but Sony has managed to improve on almost all key features of the device. Battery life, performance and ergonomics have all been improved. While retaining its form factor and possible making the device cheaper. Not a small feat.

    The only thing I see missing is a touch screen which would be useful especially if they have intended people to use this in the book form factor they are showing in one of the pictures.

    Reply
  • Avatar of ben_UK
    May 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm
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    Wow, they were not joking about the orange paperclip design. Not for me but I am sure some people are thrilled with this.

    Reply
  • Avatar of John in Norway
    May 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm
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    That hideous pink one is oddly alluring …

    Reply
  • Avatar of scoobie
    May 9, 2010 at 11:40 pm
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    This is one of those cheap relaunches like you get on cars that are reaching the end of their lifecycle – a flashy paintjob and some minor optional extras added on.
    As for the idea that its an ereader – who are they kidding?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Aik
    May 10, 2010 at 3:12 am
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    The US price is 799. See the review at engadget.com.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Aik
    May 10, 2010 at 3:21 am
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    No solid improvement in battery life as the first review of this renewed device shows. The same 3 hours of autonomous work.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jack
    May 10, 2010 at 4:42 am
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    Wow, what a dissapointment!! I was waiting for the Vaio P “mark 2” for months, and now this…What is Sony thinking really? Still Menlow? Hello, do you guys there in Sony notice that there is sucessor of the Z5xx that improves the performance and the battery life that is called Moorestown? The Z6xx CPU’s are here, and Sony release a model with the Menlow? Can’t believe it! I think is just a cheap version of the P, plastic and I am sure the screen is lower quality. They just added some colours, that’s all! Is a commercial version of the P, I will just grab the old version. Useless waiting!

    Reply
  • Avatar of ossi
    May 10, 2010 at 5:10 am
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    The problem might be with those new z6xx processors aswell. The first don’t seem to support windows. The old version might be better pick as it is cheaper :D. If they had managed to seriously up the battery-life it might have been better.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chris King
    May 10, 2010 at 6:07 am
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    I’m actually much more interested in this new model than I was with the old one. The more I look at it (matte finish, quick change resolution button, rounded edges, faster Z560), the more I want one.

    Orange or white?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Chris King
    May 10, 2010 at 6:10 am
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    I’ve added an update to the post reflecting the info from the US press release and Engadget.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Sony
    May 10, 2010 at 6:21 am
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    Wow, another crappy Vaio P except it now looks like some kid’s toy. The thumb mouse placement on the UMID was already a bad idea and it’s even worse on the Vaio P. It’s too big to be used that way anyway.

    I can’t believe people will actually buy this thing. Of course, I couldn’t believe people bought the original Vaio P either.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Alfred
    May 10, 2010 at 6:24 am
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    Moorestown for Windows isn’t even out. So of course, they’ll still use Menlow. You shouldn’t even be waiting for any Vaio P. Go buy something else.

    Reply
  • Avatar of cams687
    May 10, 2010 at 10:30 am
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    Comments from around the web are saying that this is up for pre-order today… WHERE? i have looked at sony’s site and nothing but the older version

    Reply
  • Avatar of Brett
    May 10, 2010 at 2:29 pm
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    good news, WiMAX has not been locked on any Japanese laptops I’ve seen.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Steve Jobs
    May 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm
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    When is Sony going to make a non junk notebook?

    Reply
  • Avatar of DarkPotato
    May 10, 2010 at 3:10 pm
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    looks awesome. ^loololol steve jobs gtfo ^_^

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jenn K. Lee
    May 10, 2010 at 5:54 pm
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    A day later and I’m beginning to almost kind of want one too now!

    I’m working on getting the Z560 version in for review. I don’t suppose the CPU will be much different from the Z550 in my Fujitsu UH900, but we’ll see.

    You’re choosing between orange or white? I actually don’t care which color I get, but if I had to pick two to be torn about, it would be black and yes, pink.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Project
    May 12, 2010 at 4:43 pm
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    My Sony U3 has similar controls (albeit on the body instead of the screen) and while the old P is 7cm wider I think they would still work well.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Ivar Lervik
    May 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm
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    The comment from “Sony” is pathetic. Cut the crap! No one is interested.

    Reply

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